Elementary School Teachers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 1.4 million elementary school teachers (excluding those who specialize in special education) are employed in the United States. Teachers are needed at public and private institutions, including parochial schools and Montessori schools, which focus more on the child's own initiatives. Teachers are also needed in day care centers that offer full-day elementary programs and charter schools, which are smaller, deregulated schools that receive public funding. Although rural areas maintain schools, more teaching positions are available in urban or suburban areas.

Starting Out

After obtaining a college degree, finishing the student teaching program, and becoming certified, prospective teachers have many avenues for finding a job. College career services offices and state departments of education maintain listings of job openings. Many local schools advertise teaching positions in newspapers. Another option is directly contacting the administration in the schools in which you would like to work. While looking for a full-time position, you can work as a substitute teacher. In more urban areas with many schools, you may be able to find full-time substitute work.

Visit Teach.org for advice on creating a portfolio and resume and performing well during job interviews.

Advancement Prospects

As teachers acquire experience or additional education, they can expect higher wages and more responsibilities. Teachers with leadership skills and an interest in administrative work may advance to serve as principals or supervisors, though the number of these positions is limited and competition is fierce. Others may advance to work as senior or mentor teachers who assist less experienced staff. Another move may be into higher education, teaching education classes at a college or university. For most of these positions, additional education is required.

Other common career transitions are into related fields. With additional preparation, teachers can become librarians, reading specialists, or counselors.

Tips for Entry

Read industry publications, such as American Educator (https://www.aft.org/our-news/publications), to learn more about trends in your profession.

For job listings, visit:

  • http://www.indeed.com/q-Teacher-jobs.html
  • https://www.k12jobspot.com
  • https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/elementary-school-teacher-jobs

Become certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your profession.

Use social networking tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date on industry developments and learn about job openings.

Participate in student-teaching opportunities.